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media release

31 October 2012

image of Vision Australia

Victory for common sense and a fair go
People with a disability wishing to move to Australia may be treated more fairly under changes announced by the Minister for Immigration Mr Chris Bowen today. The announcement comes nearly a year to the day since Vision Australia’s public campaign to overturn outdated immigration laws helped lead the Immigration Minister to intervene in the case of Ms Simran Kaur. Maryanne Diamond, General Manager of International and Stakeholder Relations at Vision Australia welcomed the Government’s announcement, noting that Ms Simran Kaur a social worker living with blindness, continued to work for Vision Australia delivering services to Australians. “We congratulate the Minister on his announcement, it is a great day for people with a disability and a victory for common sense and a fair go,” Ms Maryanne Diamond said. “For over a year we have been making the point that people with a disability make valuable contributions to civil society. “Disability does not discriminate, and we welcome the Federal Government saying it will overturn an unfair system that had been treating people like Simran as a burden. “We congratulate Minister Bowen on seeing the absurdity of the current law in his announcement today. “This is consistent with the findings of the Enabling Australia Report and the general mood that it’s time to bring policy on immigration and disability into the 21st century. Tomorrow, the Government will table its response to the report that enjoyed the support of all parties in the Federal parliamentary committee on migration. “Simran’s case backs up the recommendations put forward in the Report and shows why the system should be changed so that blind people are assessed according to what they can actually do rather than be viewed as a burden,” Ms Diamond said. Simran came to Australia with a Master of Social Work and extensive experience in her field, representing how the current system failed to recognise the social and economic contribution people with disability make to our community. Simran works at Vision Australia as a care worker providing much needed services to older Australians. All media enquiries and interviews, phone Marcus Bleechmore 0459 162 803 • Celebrating victory for commonsense. • Applicants will now be assessed according to what they can contribute. • Legally blind social worker Simran Kaur is still providing much needed services to older Australians. • Without the changes majority of blind applicants rejected simply because of their blindness.